Just like any other retail store, car dealerships are as much about branding as they are about selling products. So when Marc Heitz decided to design his Chevrolet franchise to resemble more of an outdoor enthusiast store rather than a conventional Chevy dealer, General Motors stepped in by stopping payment of quarterly dealer bonuses to the tune of $250,000 each. Now, Automotive News is reporting that rather than redesigning the store or losing an estimated $1 million per year in bonuses, Heitz has instead sold his franchise to a cross-town rival, David Stanley Chevrolet.

Heitz had built his franchise into an attraction as well as a car dealership with unique features like a log-cabin facade, two dog runs and a 110-foot windmill outside and an aquarium, 45-foot tall waterfall and numerous animal statues inside; Chevrolet's design standards consist of a white-and-blue facade.

With annual sales expected to total more than 1,800 new cars this year (making it the 15th best-selling Chevy dealer in the US), we doubt that it will take too long for the new owner to redesign the dealership, which has been renamed David Stanley Chevrolet of Norman. The terms for the sale were not announced, but Heitz spent $20 million building the dealer in 2008.

Did Marc Heitz make the right decision in selling his dealership?
No, he should have kept the store as-is and lost the big bonuses. 1 (25.0%)
No, he should have changed the store to comply with GM standards. 1 (25.0%)
Yes, selling the franchise was the best option. 1 (25.0%)
I don't know. 1 (25.0%)

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